Fresh Chum Salmon Caviar
- 4 cups canning or pickling salt
- 1 gallon cold water
- 2 skeins (egg sacks) fresh chum salmon eggs (Eggs of other salmon species may be substituted, but curing time will be different as noted below)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
In a large glass or stainless steel container, mix salt into water, stirring thoroughly until dissolved. With wire-mesh deep frying basket or other 1/4-inch metal screen, gently separate eggs from egg sack over bowl, by rubbing sack along screen. Take care not to scrape membrane from the egg sack, even if it means leaving some eggs behind. Pour brine mixture over eggs and allow to soak 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Soaking times for other salmon species: Sockeye or Red: 6 minutes; Pink or Humpy: 8 minutes; Coho or Silver: 10 minutes; King or Chinook: 14 minutes). While eggs soak, use tweezers to remove bits of membrane and broken eggshells. When soaking is complete, pour eggs into colander to drain. Rinse eggs quickly with cold water and drain for a few minutes. Cover colander with plastic wrap, place over bowl, allowing it to continue draining in refrigerator.
After 8 to 12 hours, transfer the now-sticky eggs into glass bowl. Gently fold in just enough olive oil to make the individual eggs shiny and slick.
Serving Suggestions: Salmon or ?red? caviar prepared this way is much less salty than the commercial variety, allowing the sweet flavor of the fresh roe to emerge. Because of the lower salt levels however, it should be refrigerated and consumed within 3 to 4 days. Its mild flavor lends itself to serving with cream cheese and crackers. A traditional favorite is salmon caviar atop celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese. Salmon caviar is delightful when added to salads with creamy herb or ranch-style dressing. This mild version of salmon caviar will be a welcome alternative to the more strongly flavored ?ikura? salmon eggs used in Japanese sushi or sashimi.
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